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How to Build a Retreat in the Wilderness and Learn to Live With Nature

Will Jones, Sarah Obtinalla


The story of the author’s cabin build in the wilderness, packed with practical advice for aspiring builders and insights into of the history of cabin culture around the world

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In 2010, journalist and author Will Jones gave up London life to move to rural Canada with his young family. His dream was to build a remote cabin in the woods that would be a silent retreat from the world. This is the story of how he created the ultimate hideaway, inspired by cabin-building practices around the world.

Throughout history, people around the world have built cabins as homes, nature-watching huts and even follies. In recent times, many have been drawn to cabin-building by a yearning to connect with nature and spend time in the wilderness. From the homes of indigenous peoples and the settlers of the New World to contemporary Nordic summer homes and artists’ retreats, the emotive lure of cabin-building shows no sign of abating. In this book, Will Jones explores the history and romance of cabin-building and delves into the architectural styles, vernacular idiosyncrasies and tools and techniques of historical and modern builders.

Weaving the personal story of his cabin build with illustrated practical know-how on everything from deciding on site and orientation, to foundations and interior design, Jones’s essential book is full of inspirational ideas. The urge to escape the city and live in nature has never been stronger. Part story, part history and part practical guide, this is the ultimate read for anyone dreaming of building a cabin of their own.

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'This beautifully illustrated book will leave you with great insight into the appeal of a cabin and a new-found respect for the people who live in them'

'Cabin gives another, deeper insight into the often harsh realities of cabin living, one that’ll invigorate but hardly deter the dreamers … provides us with a fascinating insight into the history of cabins around the world'

'Informative and inspiring'
Mail on Sunday

'An inspiring story that shows that with careful research and a committed plan, woodland life can be more than a pipe dream'
Homes & Interiors Scotland

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Product Information

Book Details

Format: Hardback

Size: 23.4 x 15.3 cm

Extent: 256 pp

Illustrations: 74

Publication date: 24 August 2023

ISBN: 9780500024959

Contents List

1. Cabins Around the World
2. Finding a Place to Build
3. Log Homes: Old Ideas for a New Country
4. From the Ground Up
5. It’s All in the Tools
6. Framing the Structure
7. Nature: the Reason to Be Here
8. Weatherproofing the Cabin
9. Famous Cabin Dwellers
10. Finishing Touches
11. Around the Cabin
12. My Cabin in the Woods

About the Author

Will Jones is a British journalist and writer based in Canada, who
specializes in architecture and design. His articles have appeared in the RIBA Journal, the Financial Times and Blueprint. He is the author of several books including Architects’ Sketchbooks (2011) and Making Marks (2019), which are also published by Thames & Hudson. Sarah Obtinalla is an architectural artist based in Toronto, Canada.